Attending my first ever Lollapalooza this past weekend was an unforgettable experience yet absolutely nothing like I expected. Several months ago a few of my friends from Boston College and I decided it would be fun to meet in Chicago to attend one of the most anticipated festivals of the summer. After securing our tickets, the waiting game began.
Flash forward a few months and I was leaving Hershey, Pennsylvania on an airplane headed to Chicago. After picking out our first day festival outfits, putting on our wristbands, and downloading the ever so helpful Lollapalooza app, we were ready to enter Grant Park.
If I'm being completely honest, Lollapalooza was overwhelming at first. Its location, Grant Park, was crowded with rowdy young people, countless vendors, and impressive stages. I had no idea where to start.
However, we first made our way to see Emeli Sandé. You may be familiar with her most popular song: “Next to Me.” She was not originally one of the artists who was on my 'must see' list but I was thoroughly impressed with her undeniable talent.
The music continued to be spectacular. Later that day I saw Icona pop (who was admittedly a bit disappointing), MONSTA, Chance The Rapper, and Lana Del Rey.
I quickly learned several things. First, cell phone service is terrible. After going to fill up my water bottle, I lost some of my friends and wasn't able to reconnect with them for hours. However, I also learned that people at Lollapalooza are extremely nice. I had many strangers walk up to me and spark conversations. I loved meeting people from all over the world brought together by both the music and the atmosphere. I also learned how tiring the day could be. By the end of the night we were completely exhausted.
After a decent nights rest, I was extremely excited for the second day of the festival. Kendrick Lamar, one of my favorite rappers would be performing in just a few hours.
Before we went to hear Kendrick Lamar we listened to Matt and Kim. I didn’t recognize the name, but as soon as they started playing their music was familiar.
As expected, Kendrick Lamar was phenomenal. I was far from the stage, but happy as could be. Dancing to his music was a total blast and something I will never forget. Not to mention, a guy in a wheelchair crowd surfed, and it made national news.
Saturday's lineup made it impossible to see every artist you wished to see. Due to the overlapping of the performance times, tough decisions had to be made. When you are attending in a group, it is only fair that you take turns picking artists. After my friends went with me to see Kendrick Lamar, we saw Eric Church, my friend’s choice. I am not a huge country fan, but I was very pleasantly surprised at how much fun country music can be. As Day 2 started winding down with Mumford and Sons, I was happier than ever that I had chosen to attend Lollapalooza.
Waking up, I realized I had hit ultimate exhaustion, as had my friends. Instead of heading to Grant Park right away, we decided to get some of Chicago's famous deep-dish pizza. I still believe that this pizza break is the only reason I was able to make it through the whole 3rd day.
We first saw Alex Clare. I only knew his famous song, “Too Close," but after his performance I am inclined to buy more of his music.
Afterwards we spent some time checking out the vendors and visiting different booths. This proved to be more fun than I expected. However, I am currently regretting the countless papers I signed to receive emails from every organization and non-profit imaginable.
Later in the day we saw 2 Chainz perform. To get a good spot we also listened to the band DIIV before 2 Chainz. DIIV wasn't exactly my cup of tea, but I can appreciate the music.
Finally, 2 Chainz came on stage, and we were only in the 3rd row. Great right? NO. We started getting shoved and stepped on from all directions. A fight broke out right behind us. Everyone clearly wanted to be first row. As we began to feel overwhelmed, we moved back a few rows and my enjoyment rose exponentially. I don't think 2 Chainz is the world’s most talented rapper, but his performance was spectacular. We left with plans of having a 2 Chainz poster in our 8 man.
To end the night we decided to see Knife Party. Dance music would be a fun way to finish the festival. I danced like a maniac and it was awesome. Unfortunately we were all tired and decided to head out early.
As we made our toward the exit of Lollapalooza, we could hear Phoenix playing and thought why not? So we stayed until the very end of Phoenix’s performance.
When my parents picked me up at the airport, they probably didn’t expect to find their daughter so drained, half-asleep with a punk rock temporary tattoo on her arm. As I told them about my weekend experiences, it was as if I was back in Grant Park reliving them. The weekend was not perfect. It was wild, dramatic, but most of all memorable. I will never forget my first music festival. Am I ready to head back to Lollapalooza tomorrow? Absolutely not. I don’t think I could make it through another Lollapalooza right now. However several months from now when tickets go on sale for next summer, I will be by my computer waiting.